Computer crimes are on the rise across America. More and more Americans are using their computer or other electronic devices for an increasing number of tasks, including the storage of sensitive information.
Charges for computer crimes are also on the increase in Tampa specifically. Unfortunately, many of those charged for computer crimes in Tampa were acting well within their rights as defined in the scope of their public or private sector employer. It is often the case that an individual will be charged for a crime that was actually committed by their employer. In this case, without representation by a skilled criminal defense lawyer, that employee may suffer extortionate fines and even the possibility of incarceration.
If you are in the position of being charged with computer crimes, a criminal defense lawyer from The Law Place in Tampa, FL., can help you. Our team has amassed 75 years of combined experience representing clients in Tampa and beyond. We have a wealth of experience, skill, and knowledge relating to any potential computer crime, intellectual property, computer system, or computer network crime case. We have achieved the dismissal or downgrade of charges for many in the same position as you.
If you would like more information or free legal advice, get in touch with The Law Place in Tampa for a free telephone consultation. All our consultations are fully confidential and work on a no-obligation basis. We constantly man our telephone lines, so you can call any time that is convenient for you.
Call us today at (941) 444-4444.
What Are Offences Against Computer Users in Tampa, FL?
The details of any crime that is considered an offense against computer users in Tampa are detailed in Florida Statute 815.06.
These computer crimes usually involve willfully, knowingly, and without permission of the owner accessing or denying access to a computer or computer system.
As this is quite a complex definition, the following list will detail which specific acts are considered as computer crimes. In this case, the blanket term computer includes any computer network, computer system, and any other network or electronic device.
- The disruption of data transmission to/from authorized computer users.
- Willfully, knowingly, and without permission accessing or denying access to an authorized computer user.
- The destruction, damage, or theft of computer supplies/equipment.
- The contamination of a computer system.
- Audio or video input/output surveillance.
The preceding list of computer offenses are examples of a third-degree felony. However, these charges may be upgraded to a second-degree felony if:
- An excess of $5,000 in property damage was caused to a computer system, network, or electronic device.
- The offense was committed with intentions to defraud a computer user or obtain their intellectual property.
- The defendant’s actions destroyed or negatively impacted public transportation, communications, infrastructure, water supply, or any government project/opportunity.
There are also more extreme examples of computer crimes, which may result in a first-degree felony. These include:
- Willfully, knowingly, and without permission accessing or denying access to a computer system in such a way that it endangers human lives.
- Disruption or denial of access to a network or electronic device that is used to administer medical care.
Definitions of Common Computer Crime Terms
Many of the terms associated with computer crimes may be outside the understanding of the average person.
Below you will find some simplified terms, in line with the legal definitions for computer crimes laid out in Florida Statute 815.03.
- Computer – Any device that is programmed and automatic that processes data. This includes any computer system, computer network, and any network or electronic device.
- Access – Approaching, instructing, communicating with, storing data within, retrieving data from, or making use of resources available on a computer. Again, this includes any computer system, computer network, and any network or electronic device.
- Computer network – Mediums of communication between individual computers or any other network/electronic device.
- Data – Digital representations of knowledge, facts, computer software, concepts, instructions, or programs.
- Electronic device – Tools that are used to communicate across computer networks, including other devices that are used to transmit, store, or receive data.
Penalties for Computer Crimes in Tampa, FL.
As there are various ways in which you can willfully, knowingly, and without permission access computer system data and there are various scales of damage this can cause, the penalties for computer crimes vary in severity.
In general, a third-degree felony computer crime will be punished by up to five years of incarceration and up to a $5,000 fine.
Second-degree felony computer crimes will be punished by up to fifteen years of incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine.
First-degree felony computer crimes will be punished by up to thirty years of incarceration and up to a $15,000 fine.
As you can see, the punishments for willfully, knowingly, and without permission accessing a computer network or electronic device can be devastating. This is because prosecutors are often attempting to set a legal precedent for computer crimes or the digital theft of intellectual property as these are fairly new crimes that are only continuing to grow.
If you have been accused of illegally accessing a computer network or electronic device, you will need the services of a computer system criminal defense lawyer to avoid the worst possible consequences. Contact The Law Place in Tampa as soon as possible for more information about how we can help you.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me in My Computer Network Crime Case?
If you have been accused of a crime involving the access of a computer network, electronic device, or the digital theft of intellectual property from a computer system, you will require a criminal defense lawyer with specific knowledge of computer network crime.
Luckily, the lawyers employed by The Law Place in Tampa, FL., have the necessary knowledge, skill-set, and level of practice required to handle such a case.
Usually, your criminal defense attorney will use the information you provide them to personalize the defense for your case. However, there are several established precedents for defending those accused of computer network crime. These include:
- Arguing that the accused was acting within the legal parameters of their employment, and it is, in fact, the employer who was acting illegally.
- Demonstrating that the accused participated in security operations under the legal authorization of a relevant government body or authorized company.
- Demonstrating the accused was accessing data or information covered by a relevant search warrant.
Additionally, if you were accessing data or intellectual property without prior knowledge of the breach of security, you would be committing, this may be sufficient grounds to have the consequences of your case reduced.
A computer offense must be proven to have been committed with a level of intent beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution. As such, there may be many specific opportunities within your case to have the charges against you downgraded or dismissed.
How to Select the Correct Law Firm for Your Computer Crime Case
As computer crimes are taken so seriously, you need to be certain that you are selecting the right representation. The consequences for your actions may be incredibly severe and leave you incarcerated, financially crippled, and haunted by a criminal record for the rest of your life. It is important that you do not take your chances with a lawyer who is unfamiliar with the intricacies of computer crime cases.
As such, we will now detail the most important qualities for your representation in a computer crime case. These are:
- Trust – Possibly the most important factor when hiring any criminal defense attorney. While the attorney-client relationship protects all the information you choose to share with your attorney, if you do not trust your lawyer, you may choose not to disclose information that could be vital to your defense. Trust is especially vital as a good lawyer will tailor your defense to the specifics of your case. The more information you are able to provide them with, the better. If you feel judged, condescended, or otherwise discouraged from sharing information, this can directly impact your defense.
- Experience – It is important that your criminal defense lawyer has a wealth of courtroom experience and experience in dealing with the complex laws relating to computer crime. You should enquire as to how many similar cases your lawyer has undertaken and what percentage of these cases they have won.
- Negotiation – One of the most important skills an attorney can possess is negotiation. As computer crimes are dealt with so harshly, negotiation can be used to get you out of a tight situation where you risk being made an example of. One of the best ways to find out how shrewd a negotiator your would-be legal representative is would be to ask about their track record in terms of plea bargains.
- Testimonials – As with any service, it is always wise to consult with those who have been through the process with that person before. It can be helpful to ask the lawyer directly for references and testimonials to determine if they are hiding anything or holding anything back. Alternatively, the internet is an invaluable resource for personally tracking down reviews of those who have used the lawyer before you.
Here at The Law Place in Tampa, we are confident that we excel in all of these criteria. However, you do not need to take our word for it. Get in touch with our office using the phone number at the bottom of the page for a free consultation, and you can hear directly how we would be able to help you out of your specific circumstances.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you have been charged with a computer crime, you should not hesitate to seek professional and knowledgeable legal representation. Each day that passes is a day that could have been spent solidifying you the best defense possible for your situation.
As a relatively new and emerging form of crime, it is not uncommon for those who commit a computer crime to receive severe consequences as a way of setting a precedent and example to discourage others from making the same mistake. It is also possible that you are being punished for a computer crime which your employer is actually responsible for. Here at The Law Place, we believe both of these situations are unfair, and we will fight tooth and nail to get the charges raised against you dismissed or, if that is not possible, downgraded as far as is possible.
Contact The Law Place today for a free, no-obligation consultation by telephoning (941) 444-4444 day or night.